What follows is an account from a French ISAF soldier that was stationed with American Warfighters in Afghanistan sometime in the past 4 years. This was copied and translated from an editorial French newspaper
And they are impressive warriors! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.Here we discover America as it is often depicted: their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley.
If you haven’t failed, you haven’t lived is so true. Many out there get knocked down and knocked down again only to either quit or get up one more time. Fifty percent of successful people that get knocked down quit but if they only got up one more time they would be successful. Everyone gets knocked down, it’s what you do next that’s important. Time for a C-Gar
The true things you really appreciate most after returning from combat are the very things many take for granted every day.
I could remember one of my many things grateful for when I came home on one of my deployments was just to sit quietly and enjoy a nice cold glass of real milk. One of the strongest actions of gratitude I experienced was a meeting with a fellow Marine that deployed before me and when I returned home, he didn’t say anything, just gave me a good handshake. His approval and the fact we chewed the same dirt was all the thanks I needed.
Enjoy the below - Time for a C-Gar
Paul Andert was 17 years old when he began training under General George Patton in the 2nd Armored Division. He took part in successful invasions in Africa and Sicily before training with British paratroopers for the Normandy invasion.
This is a repost of one of my deployments to remind you of those still fighting a war during this holiday season
Rain. Much like today, last year in Iraq was a typical day. We had received mortar fire the night before and were on our toes because we knew the scumbags knew it was “our” holiday season as Ramadan had just ended and we figured they would try a nice assault on the base. It was quiet, too quiet with the type of silence you hear at night when you can hear the blood rushing through your ears.
Back home everyone was getting into the holiday spirit in Iraq there was a brotherhood spirit already in place. The kind you get from looking at one another while mortar rounds and RPGs are shot at you while you wait for a lull in the fire so you can get you armor on or move to a solid position to return fire.
I truly didn’t even think about the holiday. There were no indications of a holiday in the damp area. No decorations, no parades with giant cartoon characters. The holiday was planted way in the back of your head as you focused on a much more in your face issue, the enemy.
A makeshift tensile decoration and a turkey silhouette cutout was on the wall of our refortified bunker chow hall but then again so was a cut out of Uncle sam left from the 4th of July. A thin plastic table cloth covered the table where me and a few close friends sat at. I had to coax them to go to the chow hall and experience the “Thanksgiving chow” late that afternoon. In fact Burrito Thursday would have been a better deal as at least you knew what you were getting to eat. We all sat there going through our exact routine of waiting in line, getting our trays, paper plates, chow then moving to a salad call. Yes, there isn’t much brown leafs; I think I will have a salad today. Grabbing two Hajji Pepsi’s we all arrived at “our” table. A table positioned way in the back in one of the bunker corridors. Quiet and by ourselves, we tried to fool one another we enjoyed the holiday there but at least we were there together. We discussed what our families were doing that year back home with us being gone. Some volunteered to help charity groups some met with other members of the family. We sat and enjoyed the chow we had, although it was no where close to family cooking but more like an MRE covered with Mrs. Dash. I Scrambled what was a weak attempt at a pumpkin pie that one of the Iraqi locals made up and wondered if the had spit in it.
It was a quiet chow. A few comments about the day were made and then it was over. Thanksgiving was gone and we were that much closer to going home. That’s how we looked at it. Get it over with then you could tell yourself”we only have Christmas and New Years left and it will be close to going home time”.
This year, I’m home, I’ve cherished the past few months being here and home with friends and family. I stop sometimes and look around at all the great things we have and are offered to us in America and Im proud to be a defender of them all. Today, I will enjoy a nice meal, cold beer and a big cigar for those who are out on the pointy end of the spear, protecting our country, sitting quietly in a bunker during Thanksgiving and saying we are almost home.
Enjoy your holiday and never ever forget those who have paid the price to ensure we can relax and enjoy such events in our free country, that’s something to be thankful for!!
Semper Fidelis and Happy Thanksgiving, Time for a C-Gar! Maj Pain
There are a few things you should know about my Sportsman of the Year. He accepted some free meals while he competed. He let strangers and corporate sponsors give him gifts. He admits he did not achieve his goal.
He also rode his bicycle from Maine to California through the worst winter in memory, despite having both legs amputated, just to raise money for charity.
So, you know, perhaps you can overlook that other stuff.
Rob Jones set out to raise $1 million for charities that support injured veterans. Jones is an injured veteran himself -- he lost his leg after an IED exploded in Afghanistan -- but none of the money was for him. The impulse that caused him to join the Marines still runs through him. He lives to help others. He raised more than $120,000, which is not a million, but it’s a hell of a lot more than he would have raised if he had sat on his couch feeling sorry for himself.